How to lock your MacBook or iMac

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Judit Llordés
@juditllordés

Do you want to protect your data when you are not using your computer? Here's how to lock your Mac when you're not around. With most of us keeping our important data on our Macs, it's not safe to keep our Macs unlocked and unattended. Fortunately, there are various ways to lock your MacBook or iMac so that other people can't use it when you're not around. Here are some ways to lock your Mac.


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Request a password to unlock your Mac

When you first set up your Mac, you should have created a password for your user account. This password is the one you will use when you want to unlock your Mac.

Here's how to make sure your Mac asks for a password when you've locked it:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left and select System Preference.
  2. Select the option Security and privacy.
  3. Make sure you are on the tab General.
  4. Check the box Request password and then choose immediately from the drop-down menu next to it.

How to lock your MacBook

Now that you've set a password, here are some ways to lock your Mac.


Close the lid of your MacBook

If you're using a MacBook, the easiest way to lock it is to close the MacBook lid. Just lower the lid and close it completely. When you open the lid, you will find that your Mac asks for a password.

Use the Apple menu

Another way to lock your Mac is to use one of the options in the Apple menu. That's how:



  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner.
  2. Select Sleep.

Your Mac is now in sleep mode and is locked. When you want to unlock your Mac, press a key on the keyboard and you will be asked to enter the password. Enter the password and your Mac will be unlocked.


Use a keyboard shortcut

There are also keyboard shortcuts to help you lock your Mac. Depending on how you want to lock your Mac, you can use one of the few shortcuts to accomplish your task.

A shortcut helps you put your Mac into sleep mode. When macOS enters this mode, it is blocked. To use it, press the buttons at the same time Control + Shift + Power (this is mostly useful on a MacBook). To unlock your Mac, press any key on the keyboard and enter the password.

The other shortcut is only for locking your Mac. This requires pressing Ctrl + Command + Q buttons at the same time. Your Mac will crash immediately.


Use warm corners

macOS offers a feature called Hot Corners which helps speed up your workflow. You can also use this feature to lock your Mac. This way, you just have to put the cursor in one of the horners and your Mac will freeze.

Here's how to set up Hot Corners to lock your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select System Preference.
  2. click on Desktop and screensaver in the resulting screen.
  3. Access the card Screensaver.
  4. Select the button Corners active at the bottom of the panel.
  5. Choose the angle you want to use to lock your Mac.
  6. Click the drop-down menu for the selected angle and select Put the screen to sleep.

From now on, whenever you move the cursor to the corner specified above, your Mac will go into sleep mode and freeze.



Use Fast User Switching

macOS comes with a feature called fast user switching. As the name suggests, this feature allows you to quickly switch user accounts on your Mac.

Since it takes you to the login screen, it actually locks your Mac when you change a user account. Here's how to use this feature to lock your Mac:

  1. Open the panel System Preference and click Users and groups.
  2. Click the lock icon at the bottom and enter the password. This allows you to change the settings on the screen.
  3. click on Access options in the left sidebar.
  4. Tick Show quick user switching menu as To the right. You can choose any option from the drop-down menu for this article. We will select Full name.
  5. To lock your Mac, click your name in the top menu bar and select Login window.

You should now be on the login screen and your Mac should be locked.

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How to automatically lock your Mac

If you don't want to manually lock your Mac, you can automate the process using a macOS option. That's how:

  1. Access the System Preference and click Desktop e Screen Saver.
  2. Click on the tab Screensaver.
  3. Select an option from the drop-down menu It starts later down. This is when your Mac will be locked.

How to show a personalized message on the lock screen

If you want the people who log into your locked Mac to know something, you can add a message to your Mac's lock screen.



  1. click on Security and privacy in the System Preferences window.
  2. Click on the padlock below and enter the password.
  3. Check the box Show a message when the screen is locked.
  4. Select the button Set lock message to specify the message.
  5. Enter the message you want to appear on the lock screen and do click su OK.

Use a third party app to lock your Mac

In addition to the built-in lock feature, macOS actually has several apps to help you lock and unlock your Mac. Each of these apps comes with a unique set of features.

Near Lock (free with an optional upgrade to a pro version) is one such app that lets you lock and unlock your Mac using an iPhone (you can unlock your Mac with an Apple Watch too). This app uses the distance between your iPhone and your Mac to automatically unlock your computer.

If you use an iPhone and a Mac, this is a good app to have because you don't have to press anything on your Mac to unlock it.

Keep prying eyes away from your content by locking your Mac

If you leave your Mac unattended for any length of time, you should lock it before you leave. This ensures that all your personal and professional content is protected and protected from unauthorized users.

If you travel frequently with your computer or even work in different places, it's especially important to keep your data safe.

Further Reading:

  • Complete list of Macs compatible with macOS Big Sur
  • USB ‑ C vs Thunderbolt 3: which one to use to connect your MacBook to a monitor
  • How to connect MacBook Air to TV
  • How to factory reset your MacBook Air
  • How to connect Mac to external monitor with HDMI or VGA cable
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